The Wild Child

Mary Jo Putney, Author
Mary Jo Putney, Author Ballantine Books $19.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-345-43315-2
Hardcover - 978-1-56895-790-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 384 pages - 978-0-449-00584-2
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7887-4048-0
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-0-345-49423-8
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-12319-9
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4498-8182-5
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Lady Meriel Grahame, the eighth heroine in Putney's Fallen Angels series, has lived in a world of self-imposed silence since the night of violence in colonial India that claimed her parents' lives. Deemed mad by her guardian uncles (one good, one evil), looked after by two widows (both good), she lives a life of fey barefoot willfulness, making weedy centerpieces for the mahogany dining table and communing with the animals who roam the gorgeous grounds of her ancestral home, Warfield. Lord Grahame, her evil uncle, would like to see her locked up in a mental asylum (Putney dwells on the horrors of early 19th-century ""modern"" psychiatry), but her good uncle, Lord Amworth, thinks a wedding and bedding might cure her--and the time is now, while Grahame is out of the country. Since infancy, Meriel has been pledged to Kyle Renbourne, Lord Maxwell, the future earl of Wrexham. Heart-bound to escort his dying mistress home to Spain, Kyle dispatches his twin brother, Dominic, to court Meriel in his place. The novel is most enjoyable precisely where it's most predictable, and it's in the all-consuming attraction, body and spirit, between Dominic and Meriel that it reaches its peak. Allowed unthinkable liberties, Meriel paints henna designs on Dominic's trembling torso, laughs at his morality and offers up an irresistible bargaining chip: if she may have his body, he shall hear her voice. Her words may lack the eloquence of her silence, and the second half of the novel is altogether the weaker, but there's satisfaction for readers who like to see villains die and everyone else live happily ever after. Author tour. (Aug.)
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